The First Descendant: How To Fix Lag, FPS Drops & Stuttering

Last Updated on October 22, 2022

I recently got to try out The First Descendant, a free-to-play looter shooter game developed and published by Nexon Games. At first glance, the game looks a lot like Outriders, a game that was touted to be a massive success but died down quickly.

In First Descendant, your player fights against the enemies, your aim is to protect the “Ingris Continent.” As you progress through the story, your player becomes stronger and stronger, unlocking newer abilities and Descendants. I tried the game in 2k and 4k resolution, and it looks beautiful.

The game has abilities, great gunplay, loot, co-op, RPG elements, and everything that you need to make a game successful. There have been multiple attempts by big corporations to build looter shooter games, but none of them have been as successful as Destiny. I hope we finally get something that gives competition to Bungie.

Coming to the performance, the game isn’t optimized at all. If I am correct, this is one of the first Unreal Engine 5 titles we’ve got. On top of that, it’s currently in beta. The game also has a pre-set of settings but no way to customize them; the forced motion blur is another problem that I felt.

Enough about the game; let’s find out how we can fix this problem until the devs push an update.


The First Descendant: How To Fix Lag

Let’s look at the System Requirements first:

The screenshot above mentions the official system requirements from the official steam listing. This information could be correct but doesn’t feel like it, probably due to the game’s current state. The game is not optimized at all and you will face constant stuttering and freezes.

Let’s move on and fix these issues.


Change Game Settings

If you’re having performance issues with your computer, one of the first things you should check is your graphic settings. Sometimes, the default graphic settings can be too demanding for your computer, leading to choppy performance or even crashes. Adjusting your graphic settings can often improve performance without upgrading your hardware.

The First Descendant doesn’t have any custom graphic options that I was able to look into; you only get pre-sets like low, medium, high, and very high. I was getting around 70-80 FPS on my RTX 3080 Rig; after enabling DLSS (Quality), it increased to 100-120.

You can change the settings to this until the devs unlock the full controls:

  • Graphic Quality: Medium
  • Upscaling: DLSS
  • DLSS: Quality

Note: DLSS option appears only for Nvidia users; for AMD you get FSR which is the same thing. Depending on their hardware, AMD users can also set it to quality or performance.


Change Graphic Control Panel Panel Settings

Here are a few tweaks for both Nvidia and AMD Users that will provide instantly boost your FPS in The First Descendant:

For Nvidia Users:

  • Open up Nvidia’s Control Panel. Right-click on desktop > click Nvidia control panel
  • Click Manage 3D Settings > Program Settings
  • Find “The First Descendant” you can manually add the game if it’s not on the list
  • Now, make the following changes:

Monitor Tech: G-Sync (If available)
Maximum Pre-rendered frames: 2
Threaded optimization: On
Power Management: Prefer Maximum Performance
Texture Filtering – Quality:  Performance
Max Frame Rate: 60*
Low Lateny Mode: Low (High or Ultra makes sense only for PvP Games)

Setting Max Frame Rate to 60 will ensure your GPU doesn’t get hot. I have seen people on Reddit and Steam Forums reporting that their GPU temps are spiking up to 82°. Limiting FPS is a great way to minimize GPU load.

For AMD Users

  • Anti-Aliasing Mode: Use Application settings
  • Anti-aliasing Method: Multisampling
  • Morphological Filtering: Off
  • Anisotropic Filtering Mode: Use application settings
  • Texture Filtering Quality: Performance
  • Surface Format Optimization: On
  • Wait for V-sync: Off
  • OpenGL Triple Buffering: Off
  • Shader Cache: AMD optimized
  • Tesselation Mode: Override application settings
  • Maximum Tesselation Level: Off
  • GPU Workload: Graphics
  • Chill: On*
  • Frame Rate Target Control: Disabled

To lock FPS using AMD Radeon Control Panel, turn Radeon Chill on.

Changing the mentioned settings should increase your FPS a little; if you want more gains, continue reading for more traditional tweaks.


Update Your Device Drivers

Do you wonder why you should update your graphic card drivers? It would be good to check on the new updates for two key reasons. Firstly, it’s the only way to ensure you have the latest drivers for your device. The more recent drivers will allow your computer to run every graphics-intensive application and keep up with technological changes without trailing too far behind.


Enable or Disable Game Mode in Windows 10

The new game mode makes gaming on your computer even better. Windows prioritizes its performance when playing a game in game mode and gives it more of the computer’s resources. The game will run faster and smoother, with less lag and interruptions. The game mode also ensures that your computer’s performance won’t be impacted when you’re not playing a game.

To enable game mode, go to Settings > Gaming > Game Mode. Turn this off or on one by one and compare the performance.


Disable in-game overlays

Discord

If you are using Discord like me, I’d recommend changing a few things. One such thing is discord overlay; it’s not something you need at all times. I use a two-monitor setup, so the overlay is useless for me. It is known for causing FPS-related issues.

Disable Hardware Acceleration in Discord

  • Open Discord
  • Click on User Settings > Appearance
  • Click on the Hardware Acceleration radio; this will turn it off.

Disable in-game Discord Overlay

  • Open Discord
  • Go to Overlay under App Settings
  • Click on the “Enable in-game overlay” to turn it off.

Windows Game Bar

  • Click Start > Settings > Gaming
  • On the Game Bar, set “Record game clips, screenshots, and broadcast using Game bar” to off.
  • Now head to the Captures tab and set the “Record the background while I’m playing a game” to Off.
  • You can also test turning Game Mode on or off, one by one.

Fix Lagging on Windows 11

These steps are specific to Windows 11 users.

Disable Core-Isolation on Windows 11

Core Isolation is a new feature built-in by Microsoft that protects your PC from untrusted applications and drivers. The tradeoff is the performance. But this will not be an issue for anyone who doesn’t download anything from untrusted sites.

Here’s how you can disable it:

  • Click on the Start Menu button and select Settings.
  • Click Privacy and Security > Windows Security > Device Security.
  • Here you will find Core Isolation; click on Core isolation details.
  • You will find a “Memory Integrity” radio button on the next screen; turn it off.

You’ve successfully disabled VBS on Windows 11. Many users on Reddit have reported this to significantly improve performance for many games. We’re talking about improvements of about 20-30 fps straightaway.

Enable Game Mode

We’ve noticed considerable improvements in the Game Mode in Windows 11. For Windows 10, we suggest disabling both the Game mode and the game bar, whereas this option should be enabled on Windows 11.

To Enable: Type game mode in search and enable it.

Use Compatibility Settings

Of course, not all the titles are optimized for the new operating system yet. This should change soon. Until then, you can use Windows’s inbuilt compatibility setting. To do so:

  • Right-click on the app’s exe file
  • Go to properties > Compatibility
  • Under Settings, Locate “Disable fullscreen optimizations”, and click on the checkbox.
  • Also, select “Run this program as an administrator.”
  • Click Apply and close the box.

One more thing suggested by Reddit users is doing a clean Windows 11 install rather than upgrading it from Win 10. Also, DX12-optimized games benefit while older ones are taking a hit.


How to fix stuttering in The First Descendant

Disable Microsoft Device Association Root Enumerator

This Microsoft service used to cause micro stutters in many games. To disable it:

To do so:

  • Launch Device Manager, and search for it using Windows Search
  • Click on Software Devices to expand the list
  • Locate “Microsoft Device Association Root Enumerator”> Right-click and disable it as shown in the screenshot below:

Move the game to SSD or faster HDD

A Reddit user reported constant stuttering in The First Descendant; someone asked him for his specs, and it turns out the guy had an SSD for C Drive, but the game was installed on the 5400 RPM drive. The user had to move his game to the SSD, and the issue was fixed.

As technology continues to evolve, so does the need for better storage. Although hard drives have been around for a while, they are quickly replaced by solid-state drives due to their increased speed and decreased energy consumption. SSDs are more expensive than hard disks but offer many more benefits. On top of the increased speed, they also consume less power. This is a critical reason SSDs are used in many new devices, from smartphones to computers.

Close any memory-hogging applications

Open up the task manager and check your memory and disk usage. Close all applications (non-windows) that are eating your memory and using a disk drive. If you are still stuttering with everything looking fine, you should probably wait for the hotfix update, which should be pushed out shortly.

Several memory-hungry apps can cause high RAM usage in Windows. One of the most notorious offenders is Chrome. Even when minimized, Chrome can take up a lot of system resources. Firefox and Opera also tend to use more RAM than Edge. If you’re experiencing regular crashes or slowdowns, it might be time to check your app’s resource usage and see if any of your favorites are guilty parties.

Use Process Lasso to limit CPU usage.

Process Lasso is software that helps you limit the CPU usage of a particular app. Download the software and use it accordingly. I dropped my CPU usage by almost 20% after using the software. Also, try switching between hyperthreading on/off; this also dramatically improves FPS for some games.


These are all tweaks that can help you in increasing your FPS. The game isn’t optimized, that is true. We might have to wait for the devs to push an update before it becomes better. Not to forget, this is Beta Access that is not open for all, the full release will be in December or Early 2023, which is months from now.

The only thing that is forcing me not to play this game is the forced motion blur; the devs should unlock the settings panel immediately or give us the option to disable this useless setting. Motion Blur gives me motion sickness; this is the first setting I turn off when I start a new game.

What are your thoughts on The New Descendant? Drop them in the comments section below

References:

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Written by Vikas

I am Vikas, and I have been into computers and gaming since I was four. I have been solving computer issues since Windows 2000 was a thing. I love playing PC games (especially online multiplayer ones). Professionally, I have worked as a Brand Enabler and hold a computer engineering degree. In my spare time, I read books and play with my cats.

My favorite games are Destiny 2, Warframe, COD Cold War, and Minecraft.

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